Accused of shaken baby syndrome?
Whenever an allegation of harm is made in respect of a child Social Care have a duty to investigate and take any protective action that is necessary. Harm to a child can be physical, emotional or sexual.
One of the most serious forms of physical harm a child can experience is non-accidental head injury, which is sometimes called shaken baby syndrome or abusive head trauma. This form of injury is most commonly diagnosed in young babies who have three key findings on medical examination, and whose parents or carers are unable to give an account for what may have caused the injury. The three key elements are:-
- Subdural haematoma
- Retinal haemorrhage
- Brain swelling
Any other injuries that the child has will also be considered as part of the diagnosis. Non-medical factors such whether there is a history of domestic violence or other abusive behaviours within the child’s household, whether the parents use drugs or alcohol and how the parents present generally will also be factors.
If your child has suffered such an injury they may present with a variety of symptoms including:
- Difficulty feeding
- Difficulty breathing
- General irritability
Whenever a child is presented for medical attention and non-accidental head injury is suspected a referral will be made to Social Care and also usually the Police.
At Pepperells we regularly represent parents who have been accused of inflicting, and children who have sustained, non-accidental head injuries. We have experienced Solicitor-Advocates and members of the specialist Law Society Children’s Panel who can represent you and assist you through every step of the proceedings. In more recent years cases have taken place which question existing medical thinking about shaken baby syndrome. We will consider with you whether applications should be made for independent medical experts to re-consider the medical evidence presented.
The consequences for a parent accused of inflicting a non-accidental head injury/shaken baby syndrome on their child are extremely serious and it is vital to seek legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity.